CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Procter and Gamble announced positive results at its annual shareholder meeting Tuesday morning in Downtown Cincinnati. Growth is strong, and by all accounts the company is healthy.
The same cannot be said for Canada’s boreal forest or the endangered caribou that live there, according to environmental activists who protested outside the meeting.
A 2019 report issued by NRDC and Stand.earth criticized the consumer-products giant for using zero recycled content in Charmin toilet paper, instead relying on virgin timber cut from the Canadian boreal forest, called the “Amazon of the North” by the report.
“The Canadian boreal forest stores nearly twice as much carbon as the world’s combined oil reserves,” Director of NRDC’s Canada Project Anthony Swift said. “Keeping that carbon locked in the boreal’s trees and soils has to be a critical part of our global climate strategy – and that means companies like P&G must rethink what they’re using to make throwaway tissue products.”
Protesters took the occasion to deliver a letter signed by leaders of more than 115 environmental, conservation, consumer and student groups to shareholders. The letter urged the company to innovate sustainable tissue products.
To emphasize their point, the protesters rallied outside the company’s Downtown Cincinnati headquarters wearing signs saying “Charmin: Stop Flushing Our Forests.”
They were joined by a chainsaw-wielding bear to reference Charmin’s iconic branding. They also inflated a giant mock Charmin toilet paper pack, according to the Enquirer, and handed out 100-percent recycled “Who Gives a Crap” toilet paper amid chants of “Procter & Gamble do what’s right, use recycle paper or face a fight!”
Inside the company’s headquarters, the mood was more upbeat. P&G reported 5 percent organic sales growth, including strong growth in China and a 25 percent increase in organic sales online.
The company’s stock price is up 50 percent year-on-year, as CEO David Taylor’s plan for the company’s turnaround appears to be working.
Still, the protesters’ environmental concerns made their way into the building, as several shareholders took to the microphone to voice opinions on the issue.
P&G CEO David Taylor did not address the concerns directly, but did speak about P&G sustainability efforts with the Arbor Day Foundation and the California Wildlife Restoration Project.
“For every tree we use, another one is planted,” Taylor said.
P&G officials did respond to FOX19 NOW′s request for comment after the meeting, saying Charmin is certified by the Forest Stewardship Counsel and the Rainforest Alliance. They also said the company will partner with FSC Canada to protect caribou in the country.
Speaking to the protesters’ specific requests, P&G officials told the Enquirer that the company doesn’t use recycled paper in toilet paper because it’s not as soft, strong or absorbent as virgin paper. It also consumes more paper pulp to use recycled paper, they said, and consumers end up using more toilet paper during a bathroom visit.